Sunday, 21 December 2008

Thoughtful Sunday 2!

"..whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure,whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think on these things."
Paul in Philippians 4:4

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Thoughtful Sunday!

"And there is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness and truth"
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Thursday, 11 December 2008

21 yesterday!!


This gorgeous little person turned 21 yesterday and I can hardly believe it.  This picture was taken on her first day of school aged 5 and of course she just had to take teddy and 'sheet' with her for security - it was all pretty terrifying after all!!  Check out that uniform!!  Now she is a beautiful young woman studying menswear fashion design at Central St. Martins in central London and for the first time really since she left home in early October, it hit me yesterday that she had moved 'out'!!

A tradition in our family at 21 is that we produce a book of funny photos from baby to now and we all get a chance to write funny quotes or memories of that time and then present it to the birthday girl on the day.  So I have been busy putting this book together for daughter no.4.  By the time she came along we both finally had cameras and so there were a lot more photos of her than anyone else in the family.  It helped too that she didn't seem to mind the camera!  So I had lots of photos and bought a lovely big plain brown book from Paperchase, sorted through stacks of photos (no, unfortunately I am not as organised as I would like to be with all my photos scrapbooked in theme, person or date order!!), and then stuck them in, stamped a few designs on the pages, stuck favourite quotes on the blank sides and wrote funny quotes.  I loved it!  It brought back so many happy memories of having a large family and doing so much together.  Isn't it wonderful to have photos to remind us of all those moments we have forgotten because time has marched on?  Here is a peek at the cover and first page:

We went out for a lovely meal together as a family to a place called Ping Pong in the centre of London and had delicious Dim Sum and Shona opened her gifts and cards from us all. On her main present, which was a large art book she had particularly requested, I tried my hand at making a rose out of ribbon for decoration and was quite pleased with the result:

So a happy time was had by all.  Daughter no. 4 had to get back and work most of the night on a project which is being presented today and others had to get back and do various things so we didn't stay too late.  There will be more celebrations once she comes home for Christmas and of course we have daughter no.3 celebrating her birthday (which is on Christmas day but which we never celebrate on that day because no-one wants birthday cake then!!!).  Well, time to put some some Christmas decor before my dear friend comes for pumpkin spice coffee and date slices tomorrow!!

Friday, 5 December 2008

"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect
but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind 
plays with the objects it loves."
C G Jung

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Craft crazy

Well, there is fabric in the living room and in the dining room and in the bedroom!  There is wool in the living room and in the bedroom.  There are half finished projects in the living room and the bedroom.  There are some projects finished, packed up and posted!  I've been a busy bee not only with the day job but with other exciting things like:
This is a special package for my penfriend in France who I met up with again this year.  There are some handmade earrings (alas, not by me!) made by Circle and Dash.
These are made with handmade paper and are gorgeous - sorry I didn't take a picture before I wrapped them but if you go on the website you can see the range and they change them each season too.

Then there was the package I posted for my friend in New Jersey USA, containing (amongst other lovely things) this:

I have really enjoyed making these Sarabooks.  It is such a shame that they are now discontinued by Paperwishes.
In addition to this I have been making bags:

This was actually a pillowcase (I think handmade in fact which I picked up in a charity shop) and then this:

which I am particularly pleased with.  It is using a pattern out of Sew Pretty Homestyle although I found the pattern extremely hard to decipher and ended up doing my own thing.  I would be really interested if anyone has tried this and if so, how they found the instructions.  The little crocheted flower was fun to do and I hope to do more of these for other gifts.  Last but not least here are the finished handwarmers:

They are very soft with the added interest of Possum fur!!!  I shall put the link in here tomorrow for the supplier as it is upstairs and I need to get this finished before I turn into a pumpkin and the clock strikes midnight!!!  But there is just enough time to show you another little project that has begun!

Well I do like variety!  So there has been a little crochet, a little knitting,  a little sewing, a little quilting (more of that soon), a little papercraft you see.  So despite my tardiness at blogging you now know that I have been busy here in my nook in South East London and I am enjoying it immensely!

Friday, 28 November 2008

A Little Bit of Space.....

This post is over a week late!  I cannot believe how the time is flying here.  Last week I had a moment to enjoy a cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee (sent over by one of my good friends in the US) in my special Emma Bridgewater Hellebore cup and saucer:

and to make a delightful carrot, parsnip, potato and coriander soup which we had with some special bread and cheese followed by Normandy Apple Cake (recipe to follow).

The apples for this came from a neighbour up the road who has had a tray of them outside her house with the sign "Please help yourself" up for a while now.  I love it!  It makes me feel like being in the country where you see those signs regularly, instead of here in suburban London.
It's been a busy time with family coming and going and the day job of course.  We are all preparing ourselves for daughter no.2 going out to Uganda on 6th January for a Voluntary Service Overseas placement.  If you saw the Panorama programme on BBC on Monday night this week called Addicted to Aid where one of the places featured was the hospital she is going to work in, you will have an idea of how we feel!!!!  There were some shocking scenes and although I am totally aware things will be very different I hadn't imagined scenes of patients dying on the floor amidst filth!!  This was A & E and she won't be working in that dept but it sent chills down all of us to see such depths of suffering and particularly in the light of millions of pounds being given to the hospital but little to be seen of how it has improved things.  The whole programme was on the topic of corruption.  Sorry to be so grim on this very rainy Friday evening!  I promise lighter and better things next time!

Thoughtful Friday 25

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy....
They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom"
Marcel Proust

Friday, 21 November 2008

Thoughtful Friday 24

"Joy is the echo of God's life in us"
Desert Father

Monday, 17 November 2008

Trying to get organised!

Well it is nearly midnight and I must just do this little post! I have been so busy on the day job again that I have not been posting very much.
 I am on a mission to get organised here but having to fit it in around my work schedule. So the weekend saw me trying to sort out these:

Into this

and then finally into the compost. Five bags in all I think and not entirely cleared but certainly a lot better than when I started.  It was also quite a work out I found when all the aches and pains appeared an hour or so later!!!   But I was up to something else at the weekend too.....

 finishing the handwarmers modelled here by delightful daughter no.1 who loves them.   I am really pleased with them too.  So it is on to the next pair, made from possum wool but more about that another time....

Friday, 14 November 2008

Thoughtful Friday 23

"And in the end it's not the years of your life that count.
It is the life in your years"
Abraham Lincoln

Friday, 7 November 2008

Thoughtful Friday 22

"Turn your face to the sun,
and the shadows fall behind you."

Maori Proverb

Thursday, 6 November 2008

I'm a Winner!

I am a very lucky lady to have won all these goodies from lizzieBcre8ive in a recent giveaway they had. Check out their website and all they are doing as a great couple of quilters in the US.
This is a closer look at the pattern that came with the fabric.
I am going to have fun putting this all together.


Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Crafting Heaven!

Last Saturday I had a day all to myself - a rare occurrence - and had earmarked it as a crafting day! So I was up early and a number of things I wanted to accomplish mainly in the sewing realm. Now unfortunately I cannot post these on the blog just yet as they are to be gifts for family members and you never know who might just pop in to have a look but let's just say progress was made! As it is a question of making 6 of these items I will need a little longer to complete! My back and nearly every part was aching when I finally decided to call it a day up in the bedroom where the sewing machine sits. I was up and down on the floor cutting and pressing, laying out and pinning so after that it was time for a sit down and some knitting. I finished this:

This was a fun project which I bought at the Knitting and Stitching Show from The Knitting Hut

which comes as a pack of different types of yarn all sorted according to colour with a free pattern for a scarf or the shrug. It certainly kept me busy recently on a 6.5 hour journey back from Wales which should have only taken 3.5 hours!

A couple of other projects which have been cast on these will be fingerless gloves eventually and so will these but in crochet

This post has taken me soooooo long to do because of technical clitches either with blogger or with my new system - there are times I could throw it all out the window!!! In between making supper and answering the telephone I have been trying to upload these photos - how long can it take and what is it with Firefox!!! What system and computer do you use that works really well? There is lots more I could say about my craft heaven Saturday but I just cannot face the hassle with the system as it is so I am off to the living room to do some serious knitting and crochet and to de-stress from it all!

Friday, 31 October 2008

Thoughtful Friday 21

"In the attitude of silence the soul finds
the path in a clearer light, and what
is elusive and deceptive resolves itself 
into crystal clearness"

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Too, too busy!

I know I shouldn't complain at all!  And being freelance means you have to take the work as it comes as you are never quite sure when or where the next lot will come, but it has meant that I have been unable to update my blog or post some fun posts which came into my mind as I was busy travelling or writing up a report.  But here we are - and now can I think of any of those posts?!!! Part of this absence has been to do with the computer situation as I am not yet used to my new macbook and iphoto, not to mention the fact that in migrating my data the photos are all over the place!!!  However there is much to be thankful for as ever and here I am, having finished a report I have been putting off for ages now - yippee!  It is still in first draft stage but at least there is some structure to it and I can now play with the words as necessary.
Has it been cold where you are?  We have had heavy frosts this week and it snowed in east London so daughter no. 4 told me!  It is time for hot meals and cosy evenings.  Tonight we have a chorizo and mixed bean stew served with oven roasted potatoes, sprouts and broccoli, followed by some homemade banana and cinnamon loaf.
I'm really hoping to do some crafty projects this weekend and begin to get ready for some Christmas gifts I hope to make - I will be sure to take some photos.  We have decided as a family to do the 'secret santa' idea for this year so we will all pick a family member's name out of a basket and just buy one present for that person.  It will make for a simpler Christmas which I am all for.  Have you seen the shops recently?!!  It is crazy out there already and so much choice it is enough to give you a headache before you even start!  Or am I the only one opting for a simple Christmas this year? I suspect not.  I'll be back soon.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Thoughtful Friday 20

"We shape our dwellings, and afterward
our dwellings shape us"
Winston Churchill

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Thoughtful Friday 19

"I shall be telling this with  a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference"
Robert Frost

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Oh, I have had to be patient this week!  It's been all about the computer and getting my data back.  The poor guy who has been helping me has been round nearly every evening trying to sort things out but I am very much hoping we are getting there.  Today has been very stressful - central heating playing up i.e. not working ; overflow pouring outside; couldn't send out work emails; printer playing up; you've got the picture!  But on to happier things and to show you what I did to counteract the stresses of last week:

Finished the squares which will make up the friendship bags that we are doing at a knitting club I am very loosely involved with (I've only been once!).  Then there are these patchwork blocks which will either be made up into cushions or maybe little bags!

And here's my first attempt at needle felting:

This is a little kit from woolpets which I bought from Blooming Felt.  But as this post has taken me nearly 45 minutes to produce (don't you just love computers!!!!) I think that will be all for now!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Thoughtful Friday 18

A friend will joyfully sing
with you when you are on the mountain top,
and silently walk beside you through the valley.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Bleak Monday!

Yesterday was a very bad day as my trusty computer of 5 years suddenly died!  Now you will know that I was aware it was suffering but ironically I had made the decision to transfer all my date to my new computer next weekend!  The reason being that last weekend we were moving daughter no.4 to her new room at Uni.  So I am now very bereft!  All my work emails were stored on outlook which is now inaccessible.  I did back up all the other data a few weeks ago so have transferred that to my new computer late last night.  I have someone coming round later today to see if we can access and retrieve all that is lost - I sure do hope so.  
So if your computer is on its last legs, is making funny noises, or is very slow - be afraid, be very afraid and back up now before all is lost!!!  I'll keep you posted.
On a happier note, take a look at these lovely chillies which are the last of my batch from the garden:

Friday, 3 October 2008

Thoughtful Friday 17

"All the flowers of tomorrow
are in the seeds of today"
German Proverb

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Autumn Supper

Take a lighted Golden Spiced Pear Yankee candle and place it in the centre of your table

Add steaming hot bowls of homemade leek and potato soup

Add homemade three seed bread

And homemade Cheddar Cornmeal muffins

Follow this with Apple and cinnamon crisp with apples from the garden and you have the perfect Autumn supper! A real favourite in our household.

Recipe for Cheddar Cornmeal Muffins:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 heaping tsp baking powder

1/2 tspn salt

pinch cayenne pepper

1 cup milk

1 egg

1/4 cup melted butter or margerine

11/2 cup grated cheddar

Stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and cayenne.

Beat egg, with milk and butter and add to dry ingredients, stirring to moisten.

Stir in 1 cup of grated cheese and spoon into greased muffin cups. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 375 degrees or equivalent for 15 - 20 mins.

(taken from the book Muffin Mania, my favourite muffin book of all time!)

These muffins are great toasted the next day too - if there are any left of course!!!